Mizen Rovers U16’s welcomed Uibh Laoire to Goleen for their league final. Mizen were awarded a home final as a result of winning all of their games and finishing top of the league. On what was a historic weekend for the Goleen Community Centre being its 10th anniversary since its official opening the scene was set for the U16’s to make their own history and to become the first underage team in Goleen to win a famous double and to keep their unbeaten season going. Uibh Laoire had other ideas though and arrived hoping to stop the party. Having previously played Uibh Laoire on three occasions this year the players knew that they were in for a hard battle right from the start especially since Mizen were down one player as David O’Reilly was unable to play due to illness. And this they were as Uibh Laoire won the throw in and started on the attack. However, the Mizen backs had other ideas and quenched the attack with Patrick Sheehan and Tadhg Reidy combining to win the ball before leading the Mizen attack up the field. Uibh Laoire had set up with a sweeper system from the start in a bid to cut off the supply to the ever dangerous full forward line of Jack Ryan Purcell and Matthew Sheehan. Despite the extra defender Mizen still found a way of getting the ball into the full forward and Matthew Sheehan capitalised on excellent Mizen attacking with two outstanding points before Jake Coughlan added a third point with a beautiful long range shot. At the other end of the pitch Uibh Laoire were keeping the score board ticking over with two points of their own. Wing backs Jack O’Driscoll were getting forward at every opportunity and were setting up attack after attack. One such attack which they set up resulted in Michael O’Reilly scoring a fine point before he added another point just moments later after the commanding presence of Michael Sheehan rose highest from an Uibh Laoire kick out before he set up Michael O’Reilly for another brilliantly worked point. Despite all of the backs playing outstanding football Uibh Laoire were first to strike for a goal. However, the Mizen team didn’t let this goal affect them as they went straight down the other end of the pitch thanks to an amazing kick out from goalkeeper Adam Sheehan, Mizen won this kick out and through excellent link up play from Isaac Solomon and Jack Ryan Purcell, Michael O’Reilly was once again set up for a point. Shortly after this Mizen scored their first goal, a high ball from Jake Coughlan into the square was met by Michael O’Reilly who rose highest to turn the ball into the goal with his fist. Uibh Laoire added three more points of their own before Mizen added two further points through Jake Coughlan and Michael Sheehan leaving the half time score reading Mizen Rovers 1-8 Uibh Laoire 1-5. A three-point lead at half time meant Mizen had a massive battle on their hands for the second half in order to claim the trophy. And this they did as once again Uibh Laoire won the throw in and reduced the deficit to two points straight away through a free. Mizen needed the next score and they got it through the precise left foot of Matthew Sheehan who was a menace for the Uibh Laoire team all game, Matthew was given the space to score this point thanks to a highly intelligent run from Jack Ryan Purcell which took two Uibh Laoire defenders out of the game, this side of the game is not usually praised but is vital in creating a score and nobody does it better than Jack. Uibh Laoire scored another point from a free, but Mizen replied through their own free as Michael O’Reilly converted. After this point Michael O’Reilly added a second goal as a number of Mizen players combined to set him through on goal. Uibh Laoire responded with a goal of their own out of the blue. Mizen were now under pressure as Uibh Laoire were trying to fight their way into the game. However, the Mizen backs were well on top with Patrick Sheehan, Jack O’Driscoll, and Paul Collins all dominating their markers and Tadhg Reidy who was a free man due to Uibh Laoire’s sweeper system was cleaning up all the ball that came his way. Michael Sheehan who had now moved into the full forward line added another sublime point. It was then time for the introduction of Aaron O’Driscoll who added a different dimension to the Mizen attack as his link up play was excellent and he was now setting up attacks. Then the biggest roar of the match came from the amazing home support as Mizen scored their third goal through Michael O’Reilly to give them a bit of breathing space. That roar gave the players an extra confidence as they all started piling forward to finish Uibh Laoire off, none more so than the two wing backs Jack O’Driscoll and Paul Collins with Jack seeing a shot rebound of the cross bar before Paul scored a beautiful point out on the wing. Uibh Laoire once again scored a goal against the run of play to set up a nervy finish. But, these nerves were soon gone as Isaac Solomon turned home a shot which the Uibh Laoire goalkeeper had saved to give Mizen a fourth goal and nobody was more deserved of this goal than Isaac after only returning three weeks ago from a broken ankle Isaac ran the most yards than anyone on the pitch and often was given the impossible task of marking two players which he did excellently. In the meantime, Jimmy O’Regan was bought on and had an instant impact gaining the ball on the wing before drifting inwards and kicking a thunderous shot goal wards which was destined for the top corner of the net before a Uibh Laoire player just stopped it going in by getting an outstretched finger on the ball to turn it away for a 45. Down the other end of the pitch Adam Sheehan pulled off one of the saves of the season with an amazing diving save to keep Mizen in front leading into the final couple of minutes. Mizen then added a final two points through Michael O’Reilly and Jake Coughlan before the referee blew the whistle to start the Mizen celebrations as they won out deserved winners on a score line of Mizen Rovers 4-14 Uibh Laoire 3-8. An amazing end to an outstanding season for this group of players as they added the league trophy to the championship trophy which they had won two weeks previously. This U16 team remained unbeaten all season winning all of their nine games in all competitions. Massive congratulations to the players and all involved with this exciting team, and also a huge thanks to all the supports who turned out to support the players. Mizen panel vs Uibh Laoire: Adam Sheehan, Tadhg Reidy, Patrick Sheehan, Jack O’Driscoll, Paul Collins (0-1), Jake Coughlan (0-3), Michael Sheehan (0-2), Michael O’Reilly (3-5), Isaac Solomon (1-0), Jack Ryan Purcell, Matthew Sheehan (0-3), Aaron O’Driscoll, Jimmy O’Regan, David O’Reilly.
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